Hundar Village to Hundar Dok
Altitude: 3560 m (11748 ft)
We start our walk from Hunder village to Hundar Dok, through the beautiful Hunder Gorge, Spending most of the time walking upstream alongside the Hundar stream and passing through Shepherds huts, where the men and women from Hundar village live with their Yaks, cows and sheep. They could be seen collecting milk, cheese, butter, wild vegetables and fuel for the winter.
Walking back to Hundar downstream till Hundar Bridge and monastery, the final descent through a valley of meadows and flower the walk will also have a great view of Saser Kangri Pear (7672 meters). Later visit Hundar monastery belonging to the Gelug-pa sect, set amidst innumerable chortens and has a huge impressive statue of Chamba in the main prayer hall. The gompa was built at the time King Jamgyal Namgyal came here with his wife Gyal Khatun. We also explore the village, which has some beautiful old houses.
Discover The Hidden Relics Of Thiksey Monastery
Ladakh’s Thiksey Monastery is located about a kilometre away from our camp. This beautiful monastery boasts of spectacular views of the valley, and is home to a two-storey statue of the Maitreya Buddha seated on a lotus. The monastery offers our guest the privilege of participating in a beautiful prayer ceremony, which takes place at sunrise. The prayer room at the Thiksey Monastery features many handwritten and painted books, as well as a temple dedicated to goddess Tara with her 21 images placed in glass-covered wooden shelves. You will also see small shrines devoted to guardian divinities, including Cham-Sing, the protector deity of Thiksey.
Shanti Stupa & Leh Palace
During your stay at the TUTC, you’ll have the opportunity to witness some of the most popular landmarks of the region, including the magnificent Leh Palace. Built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century, the palace has nine storeys. Some parts of this palace are in ruins, while some sections display fine traces of Ladakhi architecture.
While in Ladakh, a visit to the LAMO [Ladakh Arts & Media Organisation] Centre is a must. Housed in Munshi (Togoche), it is one of Leh’s most important heritage houses. The view of the old city from the terrace of the Munshi House is a sight that should not be missed, and a cup of special Ladakhi tea with light snacks makes this experience even better.
Shanti Stupa, perched upon a great vantage point over Leh, is an equally fascinating attraction. This Buddhist stupa with a stunning white-dome (Chorten) offers panoramic views of the surrounding stone-strewn landscape. Built to promote world peace and to commemorate 2,500 years of Buddhism, Shanti Stupa looks especially stunning when it is lit up at night.
Ancient Secrets of Nyerma -the Nunnery
The Nunnery at Nyerma houses a school for the community of Buddhist nuns. It was established under the aegis of the present Khenpo Rinpoche of Thiksey, and is home to approximately 25 nuns from various parts of Ladakh in the age group of 11 to 87 years. They practise meditation, study Buddhist philosophy and adhere to monastic practices. The Nunnery is located within the precincts of the rich, ancient temple complex, founded by the Rinchen Zangpo, the Tibetan translator.
Evidence from ruins that surround the Nunnery suggests an ancient regional learning centre for Buddhist philosophical studies (dating back to the 11th century). A peek into the innards of the stupas will give you a glimpse of some very special Buddhist painting of a bygone era.
The village of Nyerma is also a mini-oasis in which many regional flora and fauna flourish. Here you’ll get to learn about various indigenous herbs and plants used for medicines and cooking.
Thiksey is one of the few Ladakhi villages which actually sits on the flat valley floor. The local community of these villages, therefore, have taken to making mud bricks the traditional way, which is a fun thing to experience first-hand.
Seance with the Spirits
Buddhists are firm believers in the influence of the spirits on the material world. This is taken into consideration before any new venture or important activity is initiated. The lamas associated with the monasteries play the key role of a mediator between the world of the humans and that of the spirits. Not only do they perform the rites necessary to appease the gods, they also take on the role of astrologers and oracles who can predict an auspicious time to start work. Whether it’s for ploughing fields, picking the harvest, arranging a marriage or going on a journey, the lamas are consulted for almost everything.
In addition to a Seance Session With The Spirits, many other intriguing experiences can be enjoyed at TUTC.
Indus Valley Rafting
The Indus River originates from Mount Kailash and the Mansarovar Lake in Tibet. It flows towards India and enters her borders through the regions of Skardu in Baltistan. A soft, white water rafting adventure on the Indus lets you row past some of the most scenic sights along the river. This includes breathtaking views of the canyons in the Ladakh and Zanskar Ranges, and of the various monasteries and gompas along the river banks. The splash of the icy cold water against your face as you embrace the gentle grade I and II rapids, is an experience like none other. A sumptuous picnic lunch amidst the picturesque setting of the banks of the Indus is the best way to wrap up this fantastic rafting tour.
Ladakh Bird Watching Tours
Wake up to bird song, and step out early in the morning with a naturalist for company. As you walk along the River Indus, you’ll spot a variety of India’s rare migrant birds. This includes sea buckthorn shrubs, the White Winged Redstarts and the Black-Throated Thrushes. You might even catch a glimpse of the Rosefinch, Yellow Citrin and the Magpie. Located in close proximity to the Chamba Camp in Thiksey, this place is a haven for all those interested in bird photography. A hamper breakfast on the banks of the River Indus is the perfect way to end this delightful morning.
Hiking Tour in Ladakh
The perfect hiking tour lets you experience the natural, rural and cultural treasures of a destination, without compromising on comfort. At TUTC, we have easy camp orientation walks, hikes to nearby nunneries, walks that take you over lunar geographies and the many hamlets of happiness. No matter what kind of adventure you prefer, Ladakh will not disappoint.
Ladakhi warriors have used bows and arrows to protect themselves since the beginning of time. This land still possesses the art and skill involved in the sport of archery. The bow and arrows used are carved out of bamboo, an exotic material, scarce in this barren region. The bow strings, on the other hand, are still made of raw hide, as they were thousands of years ago. Now, mostly practised as a sport and community entertainment, Ladakh archery still brings out the highest sense of enthusiasm, and an immense sense of pride for its players and their villages.
Explore Hemis Monastery, The Jewel In The Crown Of The Drukpa Lineage
The Hemis Monastery, the largest monastic institution in Ladakh, is situated about 20 kilometres (1hr) from Thiksey. Built in a secluded valley, this monastery belongs to the Drukpa School or the Dragon Order of Mahayana Buddhism. It was established under the patronage of King Senge Namygal in the 13th century, and features beautiful statues and murals. At the Hemis Monastery, you’ll witness young lamas being taught various subjects, including literature, history, philosophy, yoga and tantra.
Discover Hemis Monastery and other centers of cultural and social significance while at our Chamba Camp in Thiksey.
Ride with the Wind: Wari La
When in Ladakh, an early morning visit to Wari La is a must. One of the most scenic passes in Ladakh, Wari La is also the fourth-highest motorable road in the world. This pass connects two of the most exotic valleys in this trans-Himalayan region. Here you are rewarded with breathtaking views of the Nubra valley, which lies beyond the pass, as well as the many villages that dot the Indus valley. Wari La was opened only in the year 2008 as an alternative route into the Nubra valley. Post a short safety briefing session at the top, you’ll be ready to cycle down the best track that the Ladakhi Himalayas have to offer. The road criss-crosses its way on the mountain side into the green oasis of Sakti village. This exhilarating ride comes to an end at Kharu town.
1) Drive from Chamba Camp, Thiksey to Wari La Top
Altitute:5312 mtrs,17428 ft
Time:02 hours drive time
2) Wari La Top to Lunch Stop
Time:20 minutes drive time
3) Halt For Lunch
Altitute:4276 mtrs,14029 ft
Time:1 ½ hours
4) Enjoy downhill mountain bike cycling from Kharu town through the picturesque hamlets of Takthok ,Sakti and Chemdey
Time:1 ½ hours cycling
5) You also have an option to further cycle down from Kharu to Chamba Camp, Thiksey
Altitute:3550 mtrs,11647 ft
Time:1 ½ hours cycling
Additional Services Included In This Optional Tour:
- A back-up car at your service
- The company of a knowledgeable guide throughout the tour
- Choice of either packed or live picnic lunch
- Appropriate safety cycling gears
Nubra: A Step Away From Paradise
Altitude: 3,144 meters (10,375 ft)
Diskit Village Walk: Self-exploratory or guided village walks or cycling through the village fields bordered with water channels as we make our way to the Yak Breeding Centre and Fishery. These units are vital to Nubra as it ensures a continuous supply of quality animal husbandry, winter after winter. We could then guide your way towards the main village boulevard, along the old mani walls (elongated,almost artfully arranged mounds of stones engraved with Buddhist prayers and mantras) and whitewashed chortens (dome-shaped monuments housing Buddhist relics) to experience the magic of this frontier town.
Diskit School Walk: Head towards the Lamdon Charitable School, which lies in the furlong of our Campsite. This school was established under the auspicious aegis of H.H.Dalai Lama on the 4th November, 1980. This school had a very humble beginning; Rev Lobzang Zotpa, lovingly also referred locally as “gyen lay“ instituted this school with only eight students. Today, Lamdon proudly attests to the fact that over 5,000 students have passed through its portal. Other than just imparting formal education, the school is also very instrumental in social works like cleanliness and sanitation of its immediate and fragile eco zone, preservation of its rich cultural legacies etc. Currently, the school houses over 150 students coming in from various far off places of the Nubra frontier. It’s an incredible experience to meet and understand the untold little stories of these amazing children.
Diskit Monastery Walking Tour: We drive you up towards the Diksit Gompa.Perched high on a hill in the village of Diskit and considered to be the oldest and largest Buddhist monastery in the Nubra Valley, Diskit Monastery belongs to the Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is a sub-gompa of the Thiksey monastery and has a statue of the Chorinpoche “the crowned Buddha” in the prayer hall, a huge drum and several images of fierce guardian deities. An elevated cupola of the monastery depicts a fresco of the Tashilhunpo Monastery of Tibet. We can even organize a special prayer high up near the towering Maitreya Buddha.
Hundar Sand Dunes: An adventurous ride on the double hump Bactrian camel on the high altitude cold desert to relive the glories of merchants, mercenaries and monks as they trudged these very sands in search of Gold, Glory and God. The sand dunes whisper lost stories of the bygone Great Game played out in these frontier wildernesses. Sip a brew of Darjeeling’s best, as you soak in the splendor of the past.
Option of driving to Chamba House, Hunder. You will be privy to an old heritage home which used to belong to a rich Silk Route era trader. His house walls and ceilings are filled with exotic wall frescos, evident of the Silk Route passing through these very landscapes. Also, do not miss seeing the peculiar statue of the Crying Buddha.
Chamba Camp, Diskit to Diskit Monastery
Altitude: 3590 m (11847 ft)
This morning, after breakfast, visit the main attraction here is Diskit Gonpa, or monastery, perched high above town on a craggy spur. You can drive up here but it’s a joy to walk among the mani walls (elongated, almost artfully arranged mounds of stones engraved with Buddhist prayers and mantras) and whitewashed chortens (dome-shaped monuments housing Buddhist relics).
A little network of paths and lanes weaves among the monks’ quarters and offices to a cluster of ancient prayer halls. If you arrive by dawn you can catch the daily morning prayers - chanting monks, crashing cymbals and deep horns. In another hall stands a famous statue of a protector deity brandishing the apparently mummified head and arm of a medieval Mongol soldier. Admittance to this particular hall is erratic. Footpaths climb up behind the monastery and past a ruined watchtower from which there are superb views of the Shyok Valley.
Polo in India - Sport of Royals
Today you will witness the traditional fanfare associated with the game of Polo in Leh Ladakh. Polo originated in the Western Himalayas in the kingdoms of Baltistan and Gilgit. King Singge Namgyal, whose mother was a Balti princess, was impressed with the thrill of the sport and introduced it to the region of Ladakh in the 17th century. Each team consists of six players and the game is fast and furious in this rugged terrain. The excitement builds up as goals are struck by both sides; each goal accompanied by a burst of song and music from the surna and daman, traditional Ladakhi musical instruments.
Walk in the Footsteps of Buddha
With our holiday package to Alchi, Ladakh, embark on an exploration of the monastic treasures of Ladakh. Driving through picturesque landscape along the River Indus, arrive at the fabled Alchi Monastery, Ladakh, built in the 11th century. Founded by Ringchen Zangpo, the Great Translator, the Alchi Gompa displays a Kashmiri influence in its art and architecture. Within the monastery you will see beautiful Tibetan and Gandhara style murals of Ladakh, frescos and images of the Buddha. Relish a picnic lunch in a picturesque setting. On your way back from Alchi, Ladakh, you will passing by at the Basgo fort, built in the 16th century. Basgo, literally "Bull's Head" in the local language, was the center of power and politics in this region at one point of time and houses a copper-gilt Buddha statue in one of its prayer halls. The ruins of the fort bear the horrific evidence of the invasions of the Mongols.
The Hornbill Festival is an annual feast for the senses, in which the sixteen Naga tribes come together to put out a smorgasbord of their unique sights, sounds, tastes and experiences. The weeklong festivities are held in December each year in the model village of Kisama. The beautiful venue, built on the gentle slope of a hill, is about 12 kilometres from the state capital and a 20 minute drive from our camp location. Thousands of curious travellers from around the world gather here to enjoy a variety of colourful performances, local crafts, indigenous sports and fascinating foods. Each day the festival invites you to sample a smorgasbord of diverse experiences ranging from traditional archery contests and chilli eating completions, to a blues gig and a nightly bazaar.
The most wondrous thing about the Hornbill is the insight it provides into the great Naga tribal traditions. Overlooking the festival venue are sixteen traditional Morungs, or youth dormitories, each built in the individual style and traditions of the tribes. The Morungs provide guests a unique opportunity to sit down with the tribespeople and be transported into their world. Don't be surprised to find yourself in the audience of an old tribal warrior as he regales visitors with tales of a time when headhunting was a regular affair.
The heritage complex of Kisama also houses a food court, a traditional bamboo hall and a World War II museum.
Khonoma is a 700-year-old village inhabited by the Angami tribe whose men are renowned for their bravery and martial acumen. The Angamis etched their names into the history of Indian resistance by bravely defending their territory against advancing British troops from the 1830s to 1880, when a peace was brokered.
The village is known for its forests and for having some of the oldest terraced paddy fields in the region. The lush forests are home to a wide variety of plants, trees, birds and animals including many rare and endangered species.
A close bond with nature is a part of the local way of life. Faced with widespread deforestation, the residents banned hunting and logging in their forests. Today, the cobbled streets of Khonoma stand as a reminder of a time when man and nature flourished in peaceful coexistence.
Another excellent showcase of the multifaceted Naga way of life is Jakhama village. Our walk here begins at a Kharu, or a large ceremonial gate and takes us through traditional kitchens where one can sample Khie - the local rice beer.
Our walk through Jakhama takes you through paddy fields, and the river banks where we can see the Angamis fish and farm in their traditional ways. As we weave through the village, we stop at local pigsties, fisheries and even a snail farm.
We will also get to see walls of houses riddled with bullet marks of the WW II. Jakhama also houses a temporary education centre established by the Japanese in their attack. End the day sipping tea in the middle of a field overlooking the wondrous village.
Kigwema, which means 'inheritance of the house' in the local tongue, is said to be one of the oldest Angami villages in the region. The charming village is a spot where time stands still, where one can explore the intricacies of the Naga past, untouched by modern civilization. Here you will find beautiful houses in unique designs, granaries made entirely of bamboo, traditional cattle rearing in jungle pastures, community wells and many more traditional institutions of Angami tribal culture.
Our walk through Kigwema takes you deep within the quaint village life. From exploring ancient stone monoliths set in honour of tribal forefathers, to an intimate chat over tea with local craftspeople - the walk is an unmissable experience for anyone interested in Naga culture.